Your Bones turn Red


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Middle East » Iran » South » Shiraz
August 16th 2007
Published: August 17th 2007
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At Hossein's store in EsfahanAt Hossein's store in EsfahanAt Hossein's store in Esfahan

Baluchi carpet showing scenes of Ferdousi's poetic tales - did you know that most of these stories came from this region in eastern Iran?
At the Shirazi bazaar, I saw a man carrying bundles of dyed red wool whose teeth were tinged in a shade of ginger red. From the Ronas plant or a mere cherry-flavor popsicle? I prayed it was the prior.

Regarding natural dyes - did you know that the red colour of the finest carpets come from a plant called 'Madder'? If consumed, the plant slowly turns one's bones red. This was where I witnessed the teeth of a madder grower. His grin was red. Daily brushing, he claimed, never let it fade away.

I've watched the Disney movie, Aladdin, several times. My favorite character will always be the flying carpet. But as a child, I always felt pity for the carpet who never had a proper name other than 'carpet'. But until recently, I actually had a bit of a dislike for such things after fellow travellers in Turkey told me about the horrors of child labour and how orphans are bought for less than $2000 to devote their lives to weaving fine works of art in order to sell carpets for thousands of dollars.

True. Some female weavers along with young boys and girls
At HosseinAt HosseinAt Hossein

A nomadic baby's cot. here it is folded in order to create a cradle alongside pretty tassles
suffer from distorted pelvises and blindness from the hours of work they put into carpets. but these are the factory workers, and i have discovered that not all creations of this artistic skill is about grief and pain. A Qashqai tribal woman told me near Shiraz, 'This is the way i live, the same path my mother and her mother told me about. I admire our way of preserving our culture and thoughts, and how new generations like myself have the opportunity to make our modern additions to our race...through the new designs and patterns we create to suit our lives today.'

The designs of carpets are distinct to each region/tribe in Iran. Although it is common for warehouses to comission for demanded designs for the sake of a western market, majority of weavers continue to pursue their personal art in order to express their individual thoughts. this is a canvas that provides an insight into a character, a life. No matter how young or un-traveled a weaver is, his/her imagination has no boundaries. Imagine how a life-changing event can alter the overall design and colour of a textural masterpiece.

With the knowledge, one can easily
At Hossein's carpet storeAt Hossein's carpet storeAt Hossein's carpet store

A black Baluchi carpet
see where a carpet comes from, and also the environment it was created to house. I do admit that recently the carpet market has altered its designs in order to satisfy common western demands, but occasionally the special carpet appears to be sold to a wealthy buyer who prizes the culture and history the textile masterpiece provides.

If you are interested in carpets, i recommend you read Brian Murphy's travel journal called 'Roots of Wild madder'. it is a simply wonderful book that expresses the beauty of not only Persian carpets, but Afghan creations as well and the philosophical elements behind them. There's a few generous mentions of nomad designs- they express an extremely valuable story behind the over all layout to the picture. E.g. who was the woman who created it? What was her story? Why did she make it?

Here's an example with photos that my dear friend Hossein educated me about. A woman, of the Qashqai tribe wove a carpet exploring the thoughts on her future marriage, dwelling on upcoming worries and happiness.she wanted to travel distant lands and hence expressed ideas on travel and mystical wonders (camels, insymmetrical designs). i hope you
Camel carpetCamel carpetCamel carpet

future marriage, a desire to travel...creativity
enjoyed her ideas via my photos.

A carpet, as i was told by a nomadic qashqai weaver, preserves a history. even nomad professionals are unable to decipher the designs of their predecessors' thoughts.


Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


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Hossein showing me a silk itemHossein showing me a silk item
Hossein showing me a silk item

a carpet woven by two sisters at the same time, revealing a two-faced silk carpet.
a carpet full of nomadic tastesa carpet full of nomadic tastes
a carpet full of nomadic tastes

One of my favorites....
Mix and match of carpetsMix and match of carpets
Mix and match of carpets

Persian carpets of incredible variety
The beautiful store in EsfahamThe beautiful store in Esfaham
The beautiful store in Esfaham

At Hossein's carpet store


18th August 2007

Found the info about the carpets really interesting - I could never be as creative to be able to put my thoughts and dreams into such work - amazing - Lorenza
18th August 2007

Beutiful Pictures & variety looking
Hi yuki, You have a very good looking to Iranian culture and Society. I always read your writings and think about your Pictures, when you make anew page. You learn me interesting ideas about tourisnm in Iran. Specially your Experience in Ardabil (Hendavana!) have a good jurney in Iran.

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